book-donation-child.jpg1) Books in the home correlate powerfully with student success, and, 2) young students can lose 1 ½ years of their reading achievement over the summer.

That’s why school districts across the country are partnering with non-profit programs to make sure that underprivileged students leaving school for the summer are bringing home an armful of new books.

A new 3-year study by reading researcher Richard Allington at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville shows that when these kids return to school they will have “significantly” higher reading scores and less ‘summer back-sliding’ than peers who didn’t get books. In fact, the kids who took books home not only kept up their reading skills, but actually improved them.

“This year,” according to the Houston Chronicle, “low-income school districts from Florida to Colorado to South Carolina  have used their federal funds to buy 1.5 million discounted books from Scholastic, the children’s publisher, in hopes of cutting the student achievement gap between economic groups.

“Owning books does even more than shore up reading during the elementary years. A huge new study shows that books in the home correlates with the number of years a child actually stays in school. The results were the same in 27 countries, no matter if they were rich or poor: Kids with as few as 25 books in the house finished an average of two more years than peers in households that were bookless.”

First Lady Michelle Obama joined four Cabinet Secretaries this summer to launch the Let’s Read, Let’s Move campaign, an initiative to combat childhood obesity along with summer learning loss. Free books were distributed thanks to corporate donations from Target, and publishers, Random House and Simon & Schuster.

If you want to help get books into the hands of children in need, and join the First Lady’s campaign, donate to First Book (, the national nonprofit that has provided more than 70 million new books to children from low-income families. 

(READ the Editorial in the Houston Chronicle)

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